NEW YORK—The city amended the 1848-lease agreement with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) that will now allow it to collect mandatory entrance fees. In the centuries old lease, the city owned institution was not allowed to do so legally.
For the time being, the museum will stick to its pay-what-you wish policy; however, mandatory fees might be established in the future, according to Director and CEO of the museum, Thomas P. Campbell.
“Faced with perennial uncertainties about future funding sources, the MET and the City concluded that it makes sense now to consecrate our longstanding and wholly legal admissions policies,” Campbell said in a statement. He also said it’s important to maintain and widen public access to the museum.
Visitors of the MET have traditionally been greeted with a sign suggesting the admission price for adults at $25, with a subscript sign reading: “Recommended, No extra charge for special exhibitions.”
Numerous, recent court cases from angered visitors, however, accused the museum of misleading them into thinking the fee is mandatory, according to NYT.
The new lease agreement outlines that the city is no longer able to pay for the operational costs of the MET without charging for admission, and that the museum can charge for general admission and also extra fees for special exhibitions.
The only change the MET made recently was to extend its operating hours from 6 days a week to 7 days a week, now including Mondays.
When the policy to charge entrance fees was first introduced in 1971, the MET was a 750,000-square-foot space attracting one million visitors. Today, it’s double the size and accommodates over six million visitors per year.
With the $25 fee, visitors will also benefit from same-week complimentary entrance to the Cloisters museum, and NYC school groups will get access to all special exhibitions.